A portable system retrieves one or more exercise programs from a remote communication system that provides motivational content for a user exercising upon an exercise mechanism. The exercise program further includes at least one control signal that controls one or more operating parameters of the exercise mechanism. The portable system includes a control device configured to retrieve the exercise program and deliver the motivational content to the user by way of an audio delivery device, while delivering the control signals to the exercise mechanism. A sensor communicates with the control device and tracks one or more measurable parameters of the user during the user's performance of the exercise program. Data representative of the one or more measurable parameters can be delivered to the control device for delivery to the remote communication system.